Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Visual Schedules Help Children with Changes in Routine

Children diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome often get anxious with changes in routine. If your child frequently becomes anxious when her routine is altered, you may want to try using a visual schedule. Once a child becomes accustomed to a visual schedule, this can drastically reduce tantrums, meltdowns, and acting out. Here is how to make a basic visual schedule that may help transitions go more smoothly for autism and Asperger’s children.
If your child can read, write the name of each task that you would like him to complete on two or three small squares of card stock. You can customize the difficulty to your child's developmental level. If he is unable to read, take snapshots of what you want him to do (or of him completing the task). You will also need a word or image that represent a reward that your child is motivated to work for. Cut each of the words/images into a small square and laminate them.
For the "base" of the visual schedule, use an entire piece of cardstock. Take a marker and outline each word/photo card then write 1, 2, 3, etc. inside each square. You will also need to attach small pieces of velcro to the "base" as well as to the word/photo cards. (See image below.)
Position each square in the order that you want the tasks completed and place the reward in the final square. Show your child the visual schedule and say, "look, first you are going to read, then you will write, then you can play on the "sit-and-spin" (or computer, or whatever the motivational item/activity might be). Once your child completes the first part of the task, have him remove the first square. Continue down the visual schedule until your child earns the reward. Be sure to tell your child, "good job, you did your work, now you get to spin/play, etc."
I hope that you find the use of a visual schedule to be helpful with transition time!

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1 comment:

  1. Yes! We also use visual schedules when teaching yoga to children on the autism spectrum. We use an image or even better, a picture of the child in the yoga pose to practice. It is so much more simple and enjoyable for the children.